Make Online Shopping Easier for Your Customers

Have you ever shopped for something online, added it to your e-shopping cart and then, at the last minute, backed out of buying it? Chances are you have—and if your business sells its goods online, your clients have done so as well. A survey conducted by PayPal and comScore this spring revealed that two out of every three customers don’t end up buying products they place in their virtual shopping carts. So the first question is, why don’t customers complete online purchases? Secondly, what would make the online shopping experience result in a purchase?

The survey showed that unexpectedly high shipping fees are the top reason that consumers abandon online purchases, with 43 percent of respondents citing this as an issue. Other customers didn’t complete their purchases because they felt the total cost was more expensive than anticipated (36 percent) or they wanted to comparison shop at other websites for the same product before buying (27 percent).

What additional problems did online customers report running into?
*Their wallets were not easily accessible at the time (21 percent).
*Their preferred payment option was not offered on the website (20 percent).
*They could not contact customer support to answer questions (16 percent).
*They forgot their usernames or passwords for their store accounts created with the merchants (14 percent).

Obviously, if your online customer can’t find his wallet, there’s not much you can do about it. However, the overall theme seems to be that clients want the online shopping experience, from beginning to end, to be as easy as possible. Here are some simple steps you can take:

*Have a list of shipping and extra charges on all of the pages a customer would visit during the checkout process, so there will be less of a surprise when the order total comes up.
*Provide your customer support phone number on the e-retail pages as well.
*Offer clients the option to type in their e-mail address, so they can automatically receive an e-mail with their username and password in case they forget them.
*Set up your website to remember a client’s preferred payment option so it will be automatically stored for future use. This has been successful on websites such as amazon.com and shutterfly.com.

If your business doesn’t sell its products online yet, the July/August issue of America’s Best explains the basics of how to set your website up for e-retail in the story, “Clicks vs. Bricks.” Keep an eye out for your issue next month!